Business & Development, Springfield

Jolene Leu Photography combines experience, affordability

Jolene Leu is a Springfield photographer who specializes in wedding, senior and family photos. She has eight years of experience and prioritizes affordability Photo provided/Sunshine Photography

Springfield photographer Jolene Leu wants to be there for brides and families who don’t have a thousand dollar budget. With eight years of experience, Leu said photography doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
”Weddings shouldn’t be about how much you’ve spent; it should be about love and the joining of families,” she said.
Along with weddings, Leu also shoots family and senior portraits. She said her style is candid and documentary-based. ”I like to capture things as is instead of a dreamy what would be,” she explained. That style developed over the years, especially because she learned from her son who has ADHD that a photographer can’t force every kid to do what they want.
”I like (shooting) families, especially ones with rambunctious kids,” she said. ”My style lends best to that way; I just follow them around with a camera. It’s a lot better than trying to force a smile and make them sit still.”
Leu added that it’s important for families to shop around for a photographer that they are comfortable with, because younger children and those who have autism won’t smile for everyone, and it doesn’t help when parents yell at them during the shoot.
Leu’s passion for photography started when she was in high school when she worked for its paper. She originally learned using film and loved it. She described herself as ”snap happy,” particularly when her children were born, and then people began to ask her to do weddings.
”One thing led to another,” she said.
It’s important for Leu to help capture memories. In her garage she has two tubs of photographs of her grandmother from 1910. She said before her grandmother passed she was asked to make them into albums – she never did.
”That regret drove me more to capture those memories so other people can pass on their family memories as well,” she said.
The biggest challenge that Leu faces is people mistaking her affordability for a lack of experience. She said that often wedding photographers quality of product is based on price over experience, and when couples see that she’s cheaper will assume she’s just starting out.
”It’s something I’ve been trying to overcome,” she said.
Despite that, Leu said she enjoys shooting weddings – particularly the toast. She said the emotions that come out are important moments to capture, whether it’s catching the family laugh at something funny or tears and hugging when something more sentimental is shared.
Along with the photos, Leu writes a small blog post about each couple’s story that she shares on her website gallery. She said it’s important to remember their stories.
Her favorite part of the job is having clients return to her. For one couple Leu shot the engagement, wedding, first baby and has a birthday scheduled with them.
”Jut to be part of their family is definitely rewarding,” she said.
Beyond the photography aspect of her business, Leu also has a side hustle in selling photo charm jewelry through Plunder Design. She said that allows her to travel more and complement her income during the slower photography months.
In the future, Leu wants to continue her photography journey of keeping a photo’s memories alive.
”It’s not really a job for me,” she said. ”It’s an escape and service I provide to people who need it.”



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